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Parliamentary immunity

Deputies and Senators benefit by parliamentary immunity, the purpose of which is to ensure their protection against abusive judicial prosecution, and the guarantee of their freedom of thought and action.

Deputies and Senators benefit by immunity after the day of the respective Chamber's statutory meeting, on condition that their mandate be validated and extended over the whole duration of the parliamentary mandate.

By reason of parliamentary immunity, no Senator or Deputy may be detained, arrested, searched or indicated for criminal or contraventional offences without the preliminary assent of the Chamber to which he belongs, after his or her hearing. Parliamentary immunity is a legal guarantee for the unhindered exercises by Deputies and Senators of their activity. In case the detention, arrest; or searching of a Senator or Deputy is imperative, or the institution of criminal of contraventional proceedings against a Deputy or Senator is possible, the request formulated to this end by the Minister of Justice is addressed to the President of the Chamber to which the person involved belongs. On receiving the request, the President of the Chamber immediately informs the Deputies, respectively Senators in a public sitting, and send it. thereafter to the Juridical Committee.

With a view to the discussion of the formulated request, the Minister of Justice must hand to the Juridical Committee all documents solicited by it.

The Committee adopts a decision by secret ballot, establishing if there are serious grounds to approve the request formulated by the Minister of Justice, drawing up a report to this purpose. The report tlius drawn up is submitted to the debate and approval of the Chamber to which the person involved belongs, within the term established by it. The decision of the Chamber is adopted by secret ballot, by a two-thirds' majority of votes from the number of Deputies and, respectively, Senators.

A Deputy or Senator can be detained or searched without a previous approval by the Chamber to which he belongs, only in case of a flagrant offence.

In this situation, the Minister of Justice is compelled to inform without delay the president of the Chamber on the detention or search. In the case in which the Chamber of Deputies or the Senate, as the case may be, finds that there is no reason for the detention, it orders the immediate revocation of the measure.

Requests for lifting of the parliamentary immunity are entered with priority on the agenda.

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